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Blind Baildon teenager is a Guide Dogs fundraising champion
A girl blind from birth has helped raise an amazing £50,000 to fund the training and life of a guide dog.
Thirteen-year-old Ella Sparrow was left sightless after complications following her birth and is devoted to helping the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association.
“I know what a wonderful job guide dogs do, which is why I wanted to help raise money,” she said.
“They are so lovely and I hope to have one of my own as soon as possible.”
She and her family, who live in Baildon, have helped raise the cash through sponsored events, including a sponsored pot washing session by her dad Tim at local pub The Halfway House.
And inspired by their granddaughter, Val and Martin Sherred organised two events which involved raffles and auctions.
More than 130 people gave generously to help make more than £5,000.
One generous donor was Halfway House manager Adam Cohen who gave an extra £50 to the fundraising provided Ella’s dad washed dirty pots for an hour in his restaurant.
“We like to support local fundraisers and Ella’s story really touched all of us,” Mr Cohen said.
Ella was born three months early, weighing only 1lb 8oz, and spent the first year of her life in hospital.
Her twin brother, Jacob, died when he was only three weeks old. Ella’s illness caused damage to her retinas and she lost her sight.
Dad Tim works for Castrol UK and Ireland and when the company was looking for a charity to sponsor for 2013 he was thrilled it chose to support Guide Dogs.
With the first £5,000 raised the charity named a guide dog Jacob in memory of Ella’s twin brother.
Ella’s family, together with Castrol, then set themselves the challenge of raising £50,000 which is the lifetime cost of a guide dog.
Grandmother Val Sherred said: “Ella is an amazing girl. She skis, cycles, horse rides and is learning to play the piano.”
A Guide Dogs for the Blind expert will soon join Ella to assess how soon she may begin training with a dog of her own.